Urban area “St. Paul’s Hill”
The most prominent and famous building overlooking Holland Square is the Stadthuys , dating from around 1650. It was originally the official residence of Dutch governors and officials. Since 1980, the building has housed the Historical, Ethnographic and Literary Museum, where you can get acquainted with the colonial and Malay past of the city.
The bright red Christ Church was built between 1741 and 1753. to commemorate the centenary of Dutch rule on the peninsula, later, in the 19th century, it was completed by the British. Each of the long ceiling beams inside the building is carved from a solid tree trunk.
In the center of the square, there is a fountain in honor of the diamond anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. Behind the town hall there is a path leading to the ruins of the Church of St. Paul, built in 1521 by the Portuguese captain Duarte Coelho in the form of a chapel. Initially, it bore the name of the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos, but then the Dutch, having captured Malacca in 1641, renamed it, and after the construction of the Church of Christ they stopped using it. In front of the church tower stands a statue of Saint Francis Xavier, a Spanish Jesuit missionary who visited Malacca several times between 1545 and his death in 1553. There is a stone slab in the church that marks the site of his grave, as his remains were transported to Goa (India)… Tombstones have been preserved in the walls of the church since Dutch times. Below, under the hill, is the cemetery where the Dutch and British are buried.
Santiago Gate (Porta de Santiago)on Jalan-Kota Street – that’s all that remains of a Portuguese fort of the 16th century. A’Famosa. Sir Stamford Raffles, who later became government secretary in Penang, saved it from total destruction. In 1670 the Dutch repaired some of the fortifications, on which the coat of arms of the East India Company appeared and the date – 1670. Subsequently, the foundation of the fortress was excavated. From the end of a large shopping center, you can see the foundations of the Bastion of Santiago, one of the original six bastions of the fortress, built during the era of Portuguese rule. Next to it is a pyramid covered with mosaic tiles, erected to commemorate the granting of independence by Great Britain to Malaysia, which was announced in 1956 by Tunku Abdul Rahman. On August 31, 1957, he became Malaysia’s first national prime minister.
Walking back along Jalan Kota Street, you will see the Kurassa Bastion, renamed Frederic Hendrik, and after crossing Jalan Merdeka Street, you can come to the Middleburg Bastion, one of three additional bastions built by the Dutch. It has a very original foundation, and you can only imagine how it could have been before (its original height and size are unknown)… Walk to the mouth of the river to visit the Maritime Museum, housed in the Flor De La Mag, a Portuguese vessel laden with gold and silver bars and other treasures and once sunk off the coast of Malacca. The halls of the museum display models of ships that have entered the port throughout its long history. Behind the museum, you can cruise along the Malacca River, sail past mansions and warehouses from the last century, and see the twin towers of the Gothic-style church of St. Francis Xavier.
Residential and commercial areas
This historic area can be reached by crossing the bridge near the town hall. This bridge was once the most important strategic structure, since it connected the port and the city, which made it the main battleground against European invaders.
The history of Malacca was made by the descendants of entrepreneurs and conquerors who married local Malay women. The offspring of marriages between Chinese and Malays, males were called baba, and females were called nonya. One of the Baba Nonya families converted three buildings on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok Street (formerly Heeren Street) into the Baba Nonya Heritage Museum, with a cafe and guesthouse on the upper floors. The first two buildings were built in 1896 by the rubber planter Chang Chen Sue – it is easy to imagine and understand the lifestyle and culture of the Baba Nonya people.
The architectural style of the buildings is best described as “Chinese Palladian” – with neoclassical columns and heavy wooden doors. The furnishings and décor bore witness to the prosperity of the Baba entrepreneurs. The third house was originally inhabited by servants, so it is not as decorative. At the beginning of the street house no. 8 is interesting – it is a house with a shop of the Dutch era of the 18th century, which has been restored to its original form.
Malacca is a paradise for antiques hunters, as it contains many new and ancient oriental treasures – china, figurines, jewelry, silverware and decorative furniture from the 19th century. Several antique shops are located on Jalan Hang Jebat (formerly Jonkers Street) . On weekends, there is the Jonkers Street Weekend Night Market, where you can fully indulge your passion for local food.
Along the streets of Jalan-Tokong and Jalan-Tukang-Emas, known in the city as “Harmony Street”, there are Chinese and Hindu temples and a Muslim mosque. The Cheng Hong Teng Temple (Temple of the Green Cloud) , built in 1673, is considered the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. It is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of Mercy. The temple is brightly decorated with colorful birds and flowers made of glass and porcelain. In the XIX century. the bronze statue of Kuan Yin returned from India. The Kampung Kling Mosque on Jalan Tukang Emas Street (1748) has a multi-level roof with a minaret in the spirit of Chinese buildings; the nearby temple of Sri Poyatha Vinaya-gar Murti (1781) is dedicated to the elephant-headed god Ganeshe, or Vinayagar.
Nearby, on Lorong Hang Jebat, is the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. It is believed to be located on the site of one of the warehouses that belonged to Admiral Cheng Ho of the Ming Dynasty. The warehouses were used to store treasures accumulated during his travels between Malacca and Africa – he returned to China only when a favorable wind began to blow.
After leaving the old city center, you can ask the rickshaw to head to the Chitti Museum – it is located next to the Chitti village, on Jalan-Gajah-Berang street. In the only hall of the museum there is an exposition that briefly tells about the history of Indian merchants, who first appeared in Malacca at the very beginning of the 15th century. Later, many of them married local women, and, like the Baba nonya community, they imbibed certain cultural aspects of the Malays – in cuisine, dress and language.
After driving just 3 km south of the city center along Jalan Paramesvara Street, you will find yourself in the heart of this small Eurasian community, inhabited by the descendants of Portuguese colonists who married local women. In the vicinity of Jalan d’Albuquerque and the Portuguese Square (Medan Portugis), you can hear snippets of phrases in Cristao, a dialect of 16th century Portuguese. The local restaurants serve delicious seafood dishes. For prayer, members of the local community gather in the simple and unassuming St. Peter’s Church, located 3 km north-west of the square, on Jalan-Bendahar Street. Easter is a particularly significant event here, attracting other ethnic groups as well, who take part in a large candlelight procession.
Walk along Jalan Bunga Raya in Chinatown (Chinatown), the city that many different stores, selling everything your heart desires – from fabrics and furniture from rattan to local delicacies. A little further, between the former residence of the Chinese tycoon (now there is the Malacca Majestic Hotel) and the Malacca River, lie the ruins of Ermida do Rosario (Chapel of the Rosary) . Until the completion of the construction of St. Peter’s Church in 1710, Catholics attended services in this chapel. It is also home to the final resting place of Emeris de Souza, a Portuguese dignitary who died in 1842.
Bukit-China (Chinese hill)
At the foot of the hill, there is a huge Chinese cemetery, where there are more than 12,500 graves, which are mostly in the shape of a horseshoe. Also at the foot of the Bukit-Chin is the Po San Teng temple, built in honor of the deity Tua Pek Kon-ga. In the temple, offerings can be made to the souls of the departed. Nearby is the Royal Spring (Perigi Raja) , excavated in the 15th century.
The Peranakans are the descendants of Chinese traders and settlers who settled on the peninsula and married local women. The Chinese who were born here began to be called the Peranakans (in Malay “local natives”) . The most famous Peranakans are baba-no-nya in Malacca (baba – men, nonya – women)… They demonstrate an ingenious Chinese ability to adapt to local circumstances without losing their own culture. Back in the 15th century. They managed to combine Chinese and Malay traditions – in cuisine, dress and language – when Princess Hang Li Po, daughter of the Emperor of China, was engaged to Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca, after which her associates also married local nobles. In the following centuries, their number increased due to the influx of traders and entrepreneurs, who came mostly from Fujian province in southern China.
Chitty (Chitty) , or Indian Peranakan, – descendants of Indian merchants, who first arrived in Malacca in the early XV century. and decided to stay here. Even the Portuguese couldn’t resist. “I have given every man a horse, a house and land,” wrote Alfonso de Albuquerque in 1604, proudly reporting 200 mixed marriages to Portugal.